Guest Lectures

Note: The content reflects the Fall 2021 guest lectures. Details for Fall 2022 are not yet finalised.

Sondre Solstad, The Economist

Dr Sondre Solstad is The Economist’s Senior Data Journalist. He has been cited by the New York Times, CNN, Wired, Foreign Policy, been made the subject of a documentary short by Vox, and has been short-listed for “Data Journalist of the Year 2020”.

His work at The Economist just this year includes the modeling behind the recent Covid 19 excess mortality estimates via Gradient Boosting Models (see the excellent non-technical background piece as well as replication code and data; also see this introductory Twitter thread). More recent work considers the environmental / emissions impact of food choices.

His personal website at has links to his research and teaching during graduate school. He holds a PhD from Princeton University, a BA from New York University, and has studied at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and Peking University.

The lecture took place on Wednesday, October 27, at 13:00h Central. A recording is available (to anybody with a valid University of Illinois netid). Also available on YouTube! without restrictions.

Emily Riederer, Capital One

Emily Riederer is a Senior Analytics Manager at Capital One where she leads a team that designs internal data products, builds analytical tools, and cultivates a community of practice.

Outside of work, Emily enjoys knowledge sharing ideas about data through a number of avenues. She works as an industry reviewer for CRC Press, serves on the editorial board of rOpenSci, and has been published in two books: R Markdown Cookbook (book, site) and 97 Things Every Data Engineer Should Know (book). In her free time, she can be found discussing R on Twitter (@emilyriederer), maintaining a few R and dbt packages on GitHub at @emilyriederer, and writing on her blog.

Prior to Capital One, Emily studied Mathematics and Statistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The lecture took place on Wednesday, November 10, at 18:00h Central. The presentation slides are available, as is a recording (limited to anybody with a valid University of Illinois netid). Also available on YouTube! without restrictions.